Beyond the Match: What hosting the 2026 FIFA world cup would mean for Vancouver

Canadian host cities are expected to have $35 to $55 million to host games

BC Place (Flickr/ Ted McGrath) and the FIFA logo (wiki.commons).

Vancouver has the chance to get back in the running to be one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA men’s world cup since Montreal has decided to back out of possibly being a host city. 

The 2026 world cup will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. 

Currently, Edmonton and Toronto are the two Canadian cities competing to host the world cup games. Vancouver declined the chance to host the world cup games three years ago, and one of the worries then was the high cost for taxpayers.

Now, Vancouver has the chance to get back in the mix to host the games as Premier John Horgan is looking into making Vancouver one of the host cities for Canada. He says he is open to the idea of it, especially if  “the costs to host [are] lowered from what was presented in 2018.”

The costs of hosting the world cup games range in the billions. According to a CNBC article that looked into the cost of the world cup, $10 billion or more is the amount host nations are looking at spending.

There are many things that add to the cost of hosting the games, like building or renovating soccer stadiums. Qatar is set to host the 2022 world cup, and the country is currently building highways, airports, stadiums, hotels, and more in preparation. 

The country was spending around $500 million per week on “infrastructural projects” in preparation for the games. There is an estimated cost of $200 billion to be spent by Qatar for the overall event. 

Montreal backed out of hosting the games because the Quebec government decided not to provide funding for the games. The government saw the cost as too much for the taxpayers. 

If the B.C. provincial government decides to go ahead with Vancouver fighting for a chance to host the games, there has to be consideration of the profits the games will bring to the city. 

Research shows that FIFA makes profits from the games through broadcasting, ticket sales, advertisement and sponsorships. 

A breakdown of the 2014 world cup shows that FIFA brought in $4.8 billion and $2.6 billion in profit. The revenue grew to $6 billion in the 2018 world cup. 

It’s clear that hosting the world cup will help with tourism, and Qatar is actively preparing for a rise in visitors coming into the country. Premier Horgan also acknowledged how the games would help B.C.’s tourism sector, especially after the pandemic.  

Some things being prepared for the world cup games are stadiums, airports, and roads for transportation. Since Vancouver is home to the Whitecaps, the city already has a stadium for professional soccer games. The Metro Vancouver region has a great transportation system that can move tourists around, and YVR airport is close to Vancouver. 

The city might have to renovate some things in order to welcome international guests.

Back in 2018, Canadian cities were expected to have around $35 to $55 million to host the games. 

If the government has the funds to host a couple of world cup games, it looks like the tourism sector of B.C. will benefit from it. Since FIFA is usually the organization to benefit from most of the revenue from the world cup, the provincial government needs to make sure their return from being a host city is worth it.